This article was written in December 2003 and updated in February 2010. It will be outdated very quickly as new models of printers are introduced. Please keep this in mind when shopping for a new printer.
HP & LexMark & some Canon Inkjet Printers
Should I keep mine or buy something that costs less to run?
Every day I get phone calls or e-mail from people asking for inexpensive alternatives to those expensive HP, LexMark and Canon inkjet cartridges. In many cases the cost of the first set of cartridges is more than the cost of the printer. If this is the case, then you have just fallen into the 'pay me now or pay me later' trap. Very often, as with Canon & HP in particular, the bottom end printers have the most expensive cartridges.
Keep in mind that it is the ink that is the printer manufacturer's cash cow. Something like the razor and blades story.
This article is aimed at explaining the different methods the printer manufacturers use to force you to buy their expensive cartridges. In many cases it would probably be cheaper to give your printer away to someone you don't like and get one that won't eat you out of house and home. I guess you will have to be the one to decide.
HP & LexMark Inkjet Printers
Every day we get people e-mailing us to ask about inexpensive cartridges for their HP (Hewlett Packard), LexMark or lower-end Canon inkjet printers. To be to the point, you simply will not find inexpensive compatible cartridges because most of these cartridges have printheads. In turn the printheads have patents, therefore the compatible cartridge manufacturers cannot produce inexpensive compatible cartridges to replace the original (OEM) cartridges.
Unfortunately, most people don't find this out until they go to buy their first set of cartridges. In many cases, the replacement cartridges cost more than the printer did, particularly with the LexMark inkjet printers. Welcome to the real world of inkjet cartridge marketing. I did say "inkjet cartridge marketing"? The printer companies are not "selling" you an inkjet printer ... no, they almost give away the printer so that you are forced to pay for overpriced cartridges. That is their 'cash-cow'.
If you were to e-mail InkMagic International Ltd. to as about inexpensive compatible cartridges or refill kits for your HP, LexMark or lower-end Canon inkjet printers, I would probably tell you to give it away to someone you don't like and get a printer that has inexpensive compatible cartridges available. I bet the printer salesman didn't even discuss the cost of operation when you asked what printer to buy. Most likely he/she pointed you to the promo of the day.
Canon Inkjet Printers
For years we recommended the Canon inkjet printers because they were very reasonably priced, offered excellent print qualities and InkMagic International Ltd. had very inexpensive compatible cartridges without chips. Unfortunately Canon changed their marketing direction a few years back when they introduced bottom-end inkjet printers with printheads on the cartridges (just like HP and LexMark cartridges). The price of the black cartridge alone was often more expensive than the printer ... add a colour cartridge and you could pay double the cost of the printer. Give it away to someone you don't like!! Take your loss now or forever pay ridiculously high ink prices.
Even the higher end Canon printers with separate cartridges for each colour are no longer the bargain they used to be. Canon put a chip on these cartridges back a few years ago (CLI-8 & CLI-221s for example). These chips are extremely complex so it takes the compatible companies six months or more to reverse engineer the chips. That gives Canon a monopoly on their cartridges for that length of time. The chips also drive the prices of the cartridges up substantially plus Canon reduces the size of the cartridges with each new model. For these reasons the higher end Canon inkjet printers can be expensive to run even if you use compatible cartridges.
Epson Inkjet Printers
We simply don't recommend Epson printers because of the chips on their cartridges. Just as the compatible companies come out with a competing cartridge costing far less than the original, Epson will change the chip and force the compatible cartridge manufacturers to rework the chip. Of course, this gives Epson a monopoly for another six months.
Further to this, Epson has been fighting compatible cartridge manufacturers in the U.S. court system for years or should I say, the past decade! They lost every court case and every appeal, right up to the last one. It is unbelievable, but Epson compatible cartridges can no longer be sold in the U.S. because of a court order.
Many of the smaller compatible cartridge manufactures were put out of business simply because they went bankrupt trying to defend themselves against this giant.
So, do we recommend Epson printers .. absolutely not!
So, what Inkjet Printers are we recommending? The Brother Multifunction Printers
For several years we've been recommending the Brother multifunction printers for several reasons. You can usually find them on sale at one of the major retailers like Staples, Bestbuy or Futureshop, here in Canada. Often you can get the midrange business models for around $100 or less. We have two or three of these in our office at any one time. The last one we paid $80.00 on sale at Staples.
The real reason we recommend Brother inkjet printers is because of their cartridges. They are huge compared to most and they have 4 separate cartridges, one for each colour. The cartridges have no chips or printheads. They are just a box of ink!
If you are paying $50 or more for a set of cartridges for your HP, LexMark or Canon printer, then I would suggest buying a Brother printer. It will pay for itself with the cartridges that come with it. By the time you've bought the first set of InkMagic compatible cartridges, you're money ahead.
You will find our Brother Compatible Inkjet Cartridges for current models here:
I hope you find this article to be helpful. If we've lead you hear because you were inquiring about inexpensive cartridges for your HP, LexMark or Canon printers, you now know why you won't see them listed on our InkMagic websites.
This article was written by Dale R. Farrier, president of InkMagic International Ltd.
All opinions stated are those solely of Dale Farrier and are not meant to offend any company or product discussed on this page. The purpose of this article is to introduce the average inkjet printer purchaser to another way of thinking when it comes to evaluating which inkjet printer to purchase.
All material is copyright InkMagic International Ltd. and my not be copied in part or whole without explicit permission in writing from InkMagic International Ltd. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2003 - 2010 Inkjet Review Ltd.